Long Island Editor, Fred Golofaro, wrote a very timely topic for his April Editor’s Log simply titled “Know The Regulations.” This is a subject that unfortunately needs to be brought up every year, if not several times throughout the season as the regulations seem to be ever-changing, and I am going to run with his theme here today.
I recently began suggesting that perhaps a rule be put in place with any regulation change that it remain status-quo for a set period of time before it can be altered unless certain criteria are met. This would go both ways in tightening as well as restricting the regulations. I mean, how can we really determine if a given regulation worked if it changes every few years? This roller coaster of regulation management allows for far too many unrelated and unaccounted-for variables to come into play to know if correct measures are being taken. Food for thought, but I won’t be holding my breath for any such changes as there is so much working against such an idea even if there is a shroud of merit somewhere within.
Now you’re not going to receive any argument from me when the subject of the complex nature of fishing regulations comes up, but it is the nature of the beast and something we must learn to live with. Heck, I do my best to stay on top of what is changing for not just the seven states here in New England, but also many of the states to our south along the coast as quite often they are related by regional management plans, so I have a semi-permanent headache thanks to the subject. But keeping on top of the regulations as best you can is not only required, but it is really your duty as an angler. I have plenty of pet peeves, and ignorance or blatant disregard for fisheries regulations is pretty high on the list. I get honestly ticked off when I find out that people fall on the old, “I didn’t know” answer as to why they kept too many or too small of a fish or a fish out of season or whatever the case may be. I always say that if you aren’t 100 percent sure, then let the fish go.
Now I am not talking about the knowing violators here—some may refer to them as poachers but I’m not so sure that title carries enough weight these days. Those guys and girls—yes I know several fisherwomen who knowingly and consciously illegally harvest fish—are in a whole other category, but I’m getting off subject here so I’ll leave that subject alone for now.
So back to knowing the regulations and the “honest mistake” of accidentally falling outside the legal limit. As a subscriber to The Fisherman, you get—among other things—the local regulations printed each week. I have even begun to include the New York regulations from time to time at anglers’ requests, as many New England fishermen venture into New York waters somewhat regularly. So as a subscriber, you’ve got the current regulations here at your fingertips for the most popular species.
Now let’s say you left your house and arrive at the dock or shoreline and realize that you left this week’s magazine at home. What now? Well, there is almost a 100 percent chance that there is a little plastic/metal/glass rectangular thing in your pocket that will direct you to your answer: your phone! Yeah, yeah, I may sound a bit silly here but you’d be surprised at how many people honestly forget that their phone can—through some sort of medieval black magic and light sprinkling of Google power—provide them with the local regulations. Better yet, there is quite likely some alien technology in that little phone that can also tell you exactly where you are standing on the earth at any given moment so you know which state’s regulations you’ll need to check—brilliant!